Artists

Arturs Virtmanis (LV/USA) #

To Perish in Fantasy, 2016, Space, fallen trees, paper, textile, organic glass, ropes, charcoal, tar, bubble machine, entropicsalon.com

Arturs Virtmanis (1971) is a New York-based visual artist born in Riga, Latvia. He studied art and design at the Riga Applied Arts College and later at the Art Academy of Latvia. Virtmanis’ early experiments with different media explored filmmaking, concept architecture, happenings, sculpture, painting and graphic arts. After relocating to New York, he worked on projects that fused elements of installation art, set design and architecture, while building a consistent studio practice based on drawing and so-called paper architecture. Exploring such themes as entropy, melancholy and messianism, Virtmanis creates visually and metaphorically dense provisional drawing environments that combine relics of sentimental imagery of past eras, cryptic texts in a form of obsessive calligraphy, collections of found and drawn objects à la a cabinet of curiosities, architectural scale models and residue that has accumulated in the process of creating artwork. Charcoal is his material of choice, used obsessively, often to the point of deep and vaporous blackness.

About the work

“To believe in the reality of salvation one must first believe in the reality of the Fall…”
– Emil Cioran’s essay “Rages and Resignations” from book The Temptation to Exist (1956)

For years I have been haunted by the image of a shipwreck!
    The name of this particular ship is the VMA Transporter 2 (vesicular monoamine transporter). It is named after the so-called God gene, which, according to some scientists, predisposes humans towards spiritual or mystical experiences.
    It seems that for some unexplainable reason a belief always exists somewhere on the periphery of God. This brings into existence a condition (a curse?!) that God always needs to be searched for, which in turn suggests the possibility of failure.
    I have been trying to create an artwork that would function as an observation deck – something that would serve as a platform for the voyeurism of the highest sort – to facilitate one’s ability to gaze (and indulge) into nothingness…
    And if it happens that, while gazing into the void, one encounters ghosts of mythological nature (so the better and richer “the adventure”) – the Flying Dutchman, the Ship of Fools, Charon and his boat bound for the underworld, Shackleton, Robert Scott and innumerable failed polar expeditions, pirates, Titanics of various eras, Bermuda Triangles...apparitions of many kinds that float like flotsam and jetsam somewhere on the outskirts of a thin and brittle film called consciousness.

Atis Jākobsons (LV) #

The Room of Silence, 2016, Installation, atisjakobsons.tumblr.com

Atis Jākobsons (1985) currently lives and works in Berlin. He is looking for ways to reach the primal nothingness by blurring the boundaries between the subject and the object, the impossible and the mundane, the human and the divine, reality and idea. Using painting, charcoal drawing, video and installation, Jākobsons creates sensitive surfaces to perceive the space that lies behind. In 2010 Jākobsons graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia with a master’s degree in painting. Since 2004 his works have been exhibited at such international projects as the Cēsis Art Festival (2016) in Cēsis, Slash: In Between the Normative and Fantasy (2015) at the kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga, KIK-4 Kino International Kunst (2015) in Berlin, the Survival Kit festival (2013 and 2014) in Riga and other important group shows. He has had several solo shows in Latvia, the most recent of which are Frequencies (Euphoria) at the Māksla XO gallery in 2016 and Dark Matter at the Mūkusala Art Salon in 2015. For Dark Matter Jākobsons received the Diena Annual Award in culture as well as nominations for the annual Latvian Television and Latvian Radio Kilogram of Culture awards and the Purvītis Prize in 2017.

About the work

Having returned from a journey to the East, where different ways of self-realisation, self-reflection, meditation and spirituality were sought, I had a vision about a room in which the visitors can experience silence. Where is such a room in Western society? Where does immersion take place, and how does one experience inner silence and personal growth? How does one enter an endless void? My aim is to create a space in which it is possible to ask these questions and to reflect on them.
There is such a place, such a room, in which everything stops upon entering it. You stop thinking, stop comparing, analysing, judging and desiring. You stop being you, you stop existing. Time stops, and both the past and the future disappear. There is such a place, where you are complete, untouched, clean. Sometimes I dream about this room. I return to it over and over again, because I know that it is home, where we all have come from. It is impossible to talk about this place, because everything – thoughts, words – ceases to exist upon entering it. This place is made of much subtler substance. Our physical world ceases to exist. In fact, it has never existed, no matter how paradoxical that might sound.
I ceased to look for this place, because I realised that it could not be found out there. To get to it, we must turn towards ourselves – not away from ourselves, as we always happen to do, but into ourselves. That is enough, you are already there without even realising it. Stop looking for it, and you will remember everything. You are everything. And everything is in you.

Chiara Fumai (IT) #

The Book of Evil Spirits, 2015, Video, mixed media, chiarafumai.com

Vitrine, detail, automatic writing. Courtesy the artists and CONTOUR 7

Photo:  K. Vrancken

Chiara Fumai (Rome, 1978) is a Milan-based Italian artist known for her performative and multi-media works featuring psychic abilities, anti-spectacle strategies and counterculture icons. She participated in dOCUMENTA (13) with a one-hundred-day performative freak show based on Italian radical feminist literature (The Moral Exhibition House, 2012), channelled the spirit of an anonymous woman in the historical art collection of the Querini Stampalia Foundation in Venice (I Did Not Say or Mean “Warning”, 2013) and created a fictional propaganda of Valerie Solanas’ S.C.U.M. Manifesto mirroring the first political campaign of Berlusconi (Chiara Fumai reads Valerie Solanas, 2013), for which she received the IX Furla Art Award. For the Contour 7 Biennial of Moving Image, Fumai rewrote the story of her live acts into a séance (The Book of Evil Spirits, 2015).

About the work

The Book of Evil Spirits
contains all the names, orders and offices of all the Spirits that ever Chiara Fumai has conversed with, together with the Characters belonging to each Spirit and the manner of calling them forth to visible appearance. Now in the Book is contained the whole Art of Chiara Fumai. And although there are many performances that are said to be hers, yet none is to be compared hereunto, for this contains them all.

    The Book brings together a number of characters whose narratives Fumai has embodied in her performative practice to date. In creating this catalogue, Fumai enlisted the help of Eusapia Palladino, an internationally renowned 19th-century psychic and medium whose séances were attended with conviction by the likes of Nicholas II of Russia and Nobel laureates Marie and Pierre Curie.
    Participation in the séance requires a departure from the rational and the conscious; by calling on a medium – and becoming one herself – the artist bypasses cultural structures and also her own narrative method. Fumai has borrowed from an array of historical characters, often women in history who from marginal positions gained recognition for voicing their dissent. They include the writer and activist Ulrike Meinhof, the bearded lady Annie Jones, the philosopher Carla Lonzi and indeed Palladino, the artist’s muse. Fumai allows herself to become “possessed” by them and, under the comfortable guise of re-enactment, hijacks their narratives for her own purpose.
    In The Book, Palladino convenes the spirits of Fumai’s motley crew of evil spirits – activists, terrorists, freak-show performers and philosophers, all at one point alter-egos of Fumai herself – who collectively represent the fears of a bourgeois society. The artist’s camp parody is itself obscured by knowing anachronism and occasional bursts of uncontrollable stage violence.
    The events are observed and narrated by the French scientist Camille Flammarion, Palladino’s contemporary and a scholar of mediumship, who takes turns with himself in affirming and discrediting what he sees. This place of misunderstanding and fragmentation is at the crux of Fumai’s production; presented with the sitting are various paraphernalia related to the ghosts and the medium herself – a spirit board, performance props and collages of automatic writing. ABCDEFGHIJLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Arrivederci.

Floris Schönfeld (NL/USA/GB) #

A Brief History of the Damagomi Group, 2016, Single channel video

Floris Schönfeld (1982) is currently based in London and Amsterdam. The focus of his work in the last years has been the relationship between fiction and belief. Through multifaceted research projects and installations he constantly tries to find the line between defining his context and being defined by it. Schönfeld has recently shown his works in group shows and screenings at the Amsterdam Film Biennale, the Rencontre Internationales in Paris, the Shanghai Biennale, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival and the Kadist Foundation in San Francisco. He has made solo shows and presentations at di Rosa in Napa, The Nest in The Hague and CAC in Vilnius (with Jude Crilly). Schönfeld is currently a resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam.

About the work

The Damagomi Project recounts the history of the Damagomi Group, a group of spiritualists and academics active in Northern California from the 1920s until the late 1970s. It was the goal of the group to find alternative forms of communication with the natural world.
    The project has the form of an ever-expanding archive that pieces together the history of the group. The archive includes documentation such as historical texts, photographs, films and object artefacts as well as re-enactments of experiments allegedly carried out by the group.
    Schönfeld uses both actual historical as well as fabricated documentation in the project. Some of the characters who play a role in the group are historical figures and some are invented. He also uses a number of historical sites as backdrops for the documentation of alleged activities of the group and situates re-enactments of these activities in these same locations. The line between the originals and reconstructions is purposefully kept ambiguous, and they are used interchangeably throughout the project.
    The archive and story of the Damagomi should not only generate a feeling of authenticity; it must become its own authentic world in which a distinct logic defines the parameters of the work being made within it. Thus the central quest of the Damagomi – to find a “non-anthropocentric form of communication with the natural world” – is also the goal of the project. In this sense the archive represents a series of thought experiments in physical form that try to approach the seemingly impossible task of stepping out of our own human perspective.
    During Survival Kit 8, Schönfeld will be showing the video piece A Brief History of the Damagomi Group as well as a number of artefacts from the Damagomi Archive. In addition to this, an attempt will be made to reconstruct a Damagomi experiment using apparatus from the collection of the Pauls Stradins Museum for History of Medicine.

Gabríela Friðriksdóttir (IS) #

Creatures of Devotion, 2013, Sculpture series, gabriela.is

Gabríela Friðriksdóttir was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1971. Working between video, sculpture, drawing, performance, painting and writing, she has created unique bodies of work in contemporary art. She creates fictional cosmologies rooted in her country’s isolating, melancholic landscape, where stories of creation come together with surrealism, horror films and even heavy metal. Her work is intense and disturbing, but it is also punctuated by moments of real warmth and humour.
Over the past decade, Friðriksdóttir’s work has been shown all over the world. In 2005 she represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale. She has also shown at Migros Museum, Zurich; Prospectif Cinema at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; National Gallery, Reykjavik; Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Kunsthaus, Graz; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt and at the Biennale de Lyon, 2014.

About the work

The sculpture series Creatures of Devotion was made for the exhibition Between the Late and Early at the Royal Scottish Academy in 2013. In this series of sculptures Friðriksdóttir created nine sculpted pieces based on the Voodoo tradition, but instead of looking towards the African aesthetic, she focussed on making them Icelandic by using material typical to her native country. In Friðriksdóttir’s world, it is impossible to separate any one element from the others – the simplest sketch could be the starting point for a technically elaborate, beautifully shot film; a fragment of writing could be elaborated into a cycle of performances; and a story briefly hinted at in one piece could become an entire installation later on. She blurs the lines between the occult and natural worlds to create dream-like environments for viewers to explore and find connections within.

Goldin+Senneby (SE) #

Zero Magic, 2016, Magic box
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Beranger
goldinsenneby.com

With Malin Nilsson (magician), Théo Bourgeron (sociologist of finance), Kevin Keener (patent
attorney), Johan Hjerpe (designer) and Moa Ott (carpenter)

"Goldin+Senneby define themselves as a “collaborative framework exploring juridical, financial, and spatial constructs”. Since 2004, when Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby started working as a duo, they have speculated around the layering of contemporary economics, analysing and employing different dimensions of financial markets. Their collaborative strategies have shaped a withdrawn approach wherein the artists are akin to puppeteers; their productions mostly comprise choreographing the labour of others.”— João Laia, Frieze, 2013.

Important experiences for Goldin+Senneby include: Flack Attack, editorial meetings in Second Life, Artport, the Whitney Museum of American Art, online (2005); Gone Offshore, sending ghost-writer John Barlow to the Bahamas (2008); Shifting Ground, exploring the land art of EU bureaucracy (2009); The Decapitation of Money, a walk in the Marly Forest with economic geographer Angus Cameron, the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2010); The Discreet Charm, a model box presentation with cultural economist Ismail Erturk; The End of Money, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011); M&A, algorithmic theatre with investment banker Paul Leong and playwright Jo Randerson, Artspace NZ, Auckland (2013); Headless, a novel by K. D., published by Triple Canopy, Tensta Konsthall and Sternberg Press (2015); and Standard Length of a Miracle, first mutation of a retrospective, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2016).

About the work

A magician creates illusions, making us see things that do not exist, that are not really happening. The word magic originates from the word magush (Persian), meaning “to be able” or “to have power”. In Zero Magic, the magic trick takes place on the financial markets. Goldin+Senneby have infiltrated a secretive hedge fund in the United States and recreated its short selling practices, i.e. the practice of selling shares that one does not own. They have, in collaboration with the magician Malin Nilsson and finance sociologist Théo Bourgeron, developed a magic trick for the financial market that has the capacity to influence the perception of a company’s value and to profit from this. The magic box contains the props and equipment needed to perform these financial manipulations and also historical references to other controversial magic tricks performed offstage, in real life.

Ieva Kraule (LV) #

Samuel Hahnemann’s Confectionery, 2016, Performance, ievakraule.com

Ieva Kraule (1987) was born in Latvia, but currently she is studying at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. Using various materials such as ceramics, stone or metal, she creates sculptural objects that are accompanied with short stories, where absurd adventures of fictitious characters intertwine with wrongly interpreted historical facts. In her works the artist includes references to the architecture of the Soviet period, crafts and fetishism. Among Kraule’s most important solo shows are such projects as "The person you are trying to reach is not available"(2016), together with Aidan Koch, at Hester in New York; "Qu'estce que ça peut faire tout ça"(2015), together with Kaspars Groševs, at Shanaynay in Paris; "Nobody dances like that anymore"(2014) at the gallery Four To Seven (427) in Riga; "…if all you told was turned to gold"(2014) at Vita Kuben in Umeå; and "11 no 10"(11 out of 10; 2013) at kim? Contemporary Art Centre, in Riga. Furthermore, she has participated in various international group shows such as the Paris Internationale (2015) in Paris, the XII Baltic Triennial (2015) at CAC in Vilnius, Le fragole del Baltico (2015) at CareOf in Milan, Lily’s Pool (2015) at Art In General in New York, and Vortex (2014) at Project Space Garage in Moscow. Kraule is the co-founder of and curator at the gallery Four To Seven (427) in Riga.

About the work
It is possible to roll a thin sheet of clay with a rolling pin for a sculpture, but usually a rolling pin is an instrument to attack biscuit dough. Similarly to the craze for alternative medicine, which in Latvia could actually be defined as a conservative choice (grandma is seeing the witch-doctor, mom is using the services of the needling therapist, but the daughter is ordering a basket of organic food from a farm she does not know as opposed to buying bananas at the local supermarket), contemporary society regards a woman’s passion for confectionery products more highly than fiddling with art. A daughter says to her mother that we are what we eat, and this time I will agree, because she has been my best friend since the third grade. The biscuits baked in various shapes resemble tiny sculptures. The ingredients give rise to suspicion, but – quoting information available from various “safe” web sources – they are of great value for the body and soul. Audiences, too, are given the chance to ingest these substances – each is given a biscuit wrapped in a sheet of newspaper of unknown origin. The writing on this sheet might convince someone of the necessity of this snack, but most likely it will merely confuse the innocent gourmand.

Katarzyna Przezwańska (PL) #

Untitled, 2016, Mixed media, dimensions variable, katarzynaprzezwanska.tumblr.com

Katarzyna Przezwańska (1984) lives and works in Warsaw. In her work, she often makes reference to nature and architecture, combining both of these fields in an effort to improve the quality of human life. She tries to make her art entirely utilitarian. Przezwańska is equally inspired by vernacular architecture and the classical architects of the twentieth century as by the vegetation of plants and large geological phenomena. She creates architectural interventions, installations and paintings, often using natural materials such as rocks, minerals or plants. Przezwańska has studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and participated in exhibitions hosted by such important Polish and German art institutions as the CCA in Warsaw, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the National Museum in Warsaw and the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach. Przezwańska is represented by the Dawid Radziszewski Gallery.

About the work

    The work derives its form from sacred geometry, the golden ratio, Le Corbusier, rules in nature, Wilhelm Reich, orgonites, chembusters, stone energy, crystal altars, the placebo effect, cabinets of curiosities, feng shui, totems, places of force and all kinds of other “healing forms”. All the forms are combined using materials like twigs, horns, thorns, grapevine tendrils, eggs, seashells, stones, roots and orgonites, creating home altars that are exhibited in several places throughout C. C. von Stritzky's villa.
    The idea of the work comes from a thought that circled around connections and thin borders between what is rational and irrational, how people need to “humanise”, or “domesticate”, the space, trying to figure out the rules of the world/nature and attempting to have control over what is going to happen. It is similar with modernist art and architecture, which is perceived as something rational, following certain now-almost-unquestionable rules like white walls, simple cubic forms and right angles, whereas it could look completely different. On the other hand is Wilhelm Reich’s scientific research and his concept of orgone, the primary cosmic energy that has nowadays ended up materialising in orgonites – esoteric, decorative objects.

Kate Krolle, Agnese Krivade (LV) #

The Edge, 2016, Performance, svetigi.tumblr.com

Kate Krolle (1984) is a graduate of the Art Academy of Latvia and the prestigious post-graduate and audiovisual research centre Le Fresnoy in France, where she received the Les amis du Fresnoy award. Using a variety of media, the artist examines the relationships between nature and human life along with experience and instincts. In 2012, under the auspices of the contemporary art festival Survival Kit 4, Krolle co-created a video installation titled The Truth is Simple together with Atis Jākobsons, whereas in the next festival she collaborated with Anete Vanaga to create the installation and performance Gourmand. In August of this year, her second solo exhibition, I Could Be Elsewhere, was opened at the Floating Art Gallery Noass.
Agnese Krivade (1981) writes poetry, prose and literary analysis. Her first collection of poetry, Childhood, was published in 2007. Currently Krivade is interested in experimental text forms, chance, performance, movement and interdisciplinarity. In 2014, she collaborated with composer Oskars Herliņš to create the performance Drunkard for the Sound Forest music festival, but in 2015 she wrote an experimental text, Salle d'attente, for Ieva Epnere’s exhibition Waiting Room in Brussels.

About the work

In 1989 an array of hydrophones built by the US Navy to detect enemy submarines picked up some strange signals. They were whale songs, and similar to blue whale calls, but there was one big difference. The key notes of the song were at a frequency of 52 Hz – significantly higher than the blue whale, which sings between 10 and 40 Hz. In fact, none of the known whale species can sing or hear at this frequency. No one has seen the 52-hertz whale. Monitoring and recordings of the sound have allowed researchers to track the animal’s movement ‒ every year the whale moves from California to Alaska, swimming 30-70 kilometres a day. The only image we have of the whale are the lines in an ocean map. The species and sex of the 52-hertz whale are unknown. We only know that there are no other whale songs like this one. Scientists speculate that the 52-hertz whale could be an “abnormal” blue whale or a crossbreed of the blue whale and another whale species. This whale is the last representative of this species. A deaf whale. An alien. The loneliest whale in the world. If there is truth in the theory that the main goal of the whale song is to attract a mating partner, no one will hear this whale. Yet, the truth is that we don’t know why whales sing. Some people say – just because. After all, a whale has no other means of experiencing itself. A whale is almost blind, and there is hardly any smell in the water.

Why does a movement in solitude make us sad and scared?

Touching oneself is the most available and at the same time the least studied form of existence. We usually spend our time in solitude by being somewhere else. Or being nowhere. We make sure that there is a goal in the movement of solitude leading to the discontinuation of solitude.

Where does the “I” remain when nobody is present?
What do I feel when I touch myself fearlessly and aimlessly? What change is induced in me by my own touch?
Who is delivering the information, and who is receiving it?
How am I changed by the information and energy of the touch?
What am I doing with myself? Am I healing or ruining myself? Am I reviving or killing myself? Who is touching whom?

Katrīna Neiburga (LV) #

Enlightenment in the Basement, 2016, Video, sound and light installation, neiburga.lv

Photo: Andris Eglītis

Katrīna Neiburga (1978) has graduated from the Department of Visual Communication of the Art Academy of Latvia and has studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Similarly to a passionate social anthropologist, the artist looks for and collects interesting, often intimate stories, which she turns into visually astonishing portraits with the help of installation, as well as video and light projections. Her works have been showcased in such well-known art festivals as Sydney, Moscow and Venice Biennales. In 2008 Katrīna Neiburga was nominated for the ARS FENNICA award, but in 2009 she was awarded the Purvītis Prize given in recognition for distinctive artistic output. In parallel to her individual art projects, Katrīna Neiburga also participates in performances of Latvian electronic music band Gas of Latvia, as well as works as a stage designer creating multimedia works for the Latvian National Opera, the New Riga Theatre, the Stanislavski Drama Theatre in Moscow, Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, Bastille Opera House in Paris and elsewhere.

About the work
miracle, noun.
1. An event of rare occurrence, which (according to mythical or religious beliefs) takes place under the impact of supernatural forces.
//Fantastic occurrence, which is not possible in real life.
Miracle stories/fairy-tales ‒ stories with many imaginary elements in the plot.
Signs of miracles ‒ an indication or evidence allegedly proving that the miracle will come true in present or future.
// adjective. Miraculous – surprisingly wonderful, extraordinary.
2. A very unusual, uncanny event, phenomenon.
Miracle works colloquial ‒ spectacular, hard to believe events.
3. Something wonderful, hard to believe or awe-inspiring.
4. usually in plural. State of amazement or sensation that is very surprising, astonishing or wonderful.

Adapted from the original source: tezaurs.lv/#/sv/brīnums

Lea Porsager (DK) #

Cunning meridians — shock therapy by way of used needles, 2016, 4 unique iron sticks (length: 3 m, diameter: 6 mm, painted blue and individually curved), natural sponges, acupuncture needles, leaporsager.dk

Lea Porsager (1981) lives and works in Copenhagen. She studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Porsagers artistic practice is one of speculative fabulation within a variety of mediums including film, sculpture, photography and text. Her works reside in the matrixial realm of science, politics, feminism and esotericism creating “paradoxical spaces of mad non-violent speculation”. She develops her works from occult theories and spiritual practices, which she applies to question normative ways of thinking and the limits of human knowledge. Posager has participated in several important international exhibitions, such as dOCUMENTA (13) with the work Anatta Experiment (2012) and the 14th Istanbul Biennial SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms (2015) as Annie Besant’s “medium”, recreating watercolours from the book Thought-Forms (1905). In September 2015 Porsager became a PhD fellow in fine arts at the Malmö Art Academy of Lund University.

Text within the work:

⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯⫯

Cunning meridians — shock therapy by way of used needles                                                                                                                                      Weak sharpness. Tiny, ⫯⫯⫯⫯ stick it to the four bony blue meridians, seemingly blocked by bloated growths. Perversely human contagion (superstitious trouble⫯). Dull, drawn-out, sanctimonious patrimony. O royal splendour!

Needles needed needy needles. ⫯ Needles to the slender curve. Needles to all swollen hypocrisy! ⫯

Marcos Lutyens (USA/UK) #

Haptic Spectre, 2016, Ceramic and audio, Images courtesy of Marcos Lutyens, marcoslutyens.net

Marcos Lutyens (1964, London) lives and works in Los Angeles. His practice has centred on the investigation of consciousness to engage the visitor’s embodied experience of art. Exhibitions of infinite scale and nature have been installed in the minds of visitors. Lutyens’ investigations have included research with social groups such as the third-gender Muxhe, Raelians, synaesthetes, border migrants, space engineers and mental architects to explore how unconscious mind-sets shift across cultures and backgrounds. He has developed interactions with pedestrian flows, social media dialogue, air quality levels, animal and biological intercommunication.
Lutyens has exhibited internally, including 340 performances over 100 days at dOCUMENTA (13), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Royal Academy, the National Art Museum of China and MoMA. Lutyens has worked in alliance with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev on the 14th Istanbul Biennial, where he also created a large-scale installation on a ship and prepared the public programme Thought Forms and Brain Waves: Neuro-Aesthetics and Art, which included some of the world’s leading neuroscientists. Lutyens recently launched his book Memoirs of a Hypnotist: 100 Days (2015). Present work includes projects at Manifesta, the Liverpool Biennial and the GAM in Turin.

About the work
A momentary reflection in one of the cavernous rooms of No. 9 Briana Street in Riga caught a mental map relating to past tenses. We think of Survival in terms of an activity in the present or a reflex protecting us from future calamity, and yet we are also prone to previous influences as they extend forwards through time. Can we put a finger on this influence from the past?
Is it real enough to be tangible?
We seized this fleeting will-o’-the-wisp and materialised it to make it accessible to visitors in a series of inductive séances.
We plumb it for the traces of previous moments. It’s a tactile road map that infuses knowledge through the fingertips, a workout for intuitive sensing across temporal planes. A prototype for Survival: forwards and backwards in time.

Marte Johnslien (NO) #

Shouts from Silence, Action Cushions (8-10), 2014/2016, Installation, martejohnslien.com

Marte Johnslien (1977) is an artist based in Oslo who works mainly with sculpture and installation art. By exploring and showing the relation between spirituality, social action and abstract art, Johnslien emphasises the idea that today’s steadily increasing interest in spirituality and abstraction can also promote political and social engagement. Her works are included in the collections of the Norwegian National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design and the Henie Onstad Art Centre in Norway. Johnslien has recently been included in group shows at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art in Oslo and the 12th Havana Biennial in Cuba and has executed several permanent public commissions in Norway. She is represented by Galleri Riis in Oslo.

About the work
The installation Shouts from Silence consists of still images from a video recording of demonstrators from the Shugden Community. They were demonstrating against the Dalai Lama during his visit to Chateau Neuf in Oslo in May 2014. The organisation was demonstrating against the persecution of Dorje Shugden worshippers, who belong to a branch of Tibetan Buddhism that the Dalai Lama believes to be a cult damaging himself personally as well as Tibet’s struggle for freedom in general. The installation is an investigation of how peacefulness and activism sometimes go hand in hand.
The Action Cushions were painted according to the Buddhist monk Chôgyam Trungpa’s method (Dharma Art). He describes how art should be made in a state of mind that is completely “non-aggressive”. This peaceful mind is the same as the mind that feels other people’s suffering; hence it’s both the foundation for artistic creation and social engagement. Dharma Art can be practised as a form of automatic painting, or action painting. Action Cushions take the shape of meditation cushions in order to bring together the concepts of action and contemplation.
The works of art were originally produced on commission for the Henie Onstad Art Centre in 2014 as part of the DNB Savings Bank Foundation (Kunstgaven).

Miķelis Fišers (LV) #

Speaker from Third Planets Panhandle for Alms at the Summit of Two-speed Civilizations
Reptilians Heal Sterilized Mermaids from Depression in Sinai Peninsula
Survivalist Jerking Shipwrecked Aliens. The 20th Year of the Nuclear Winter
Next to the Shop. Satan Worshipers Rejoice on Judgement Day

2016, Four woodcarvings, fisers.lv

Photo: Valdis Jansons

Miķelis Fišers (1970) graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia with a master’s degree in painting. He is interested in supernatural, esoteric and cosmic phenomena, which, along with the use of conspiracy theories, are transformed into visionary installations, video works, paintings, drawings and woodcarvings. Fišers started his creative activities in the mid-1990s making provocative, ironic and socially critical installations, but he later returned to the genre of painting. Since 2014, he has found a new mode of expression – small-scale illustrative woodcarvings in a retro style – which were exhibited for the first time at the DISGRACE exhibition (2014) at the Pauls Stradins Museum for History of Medicine. Next year, Fišers will represent Latvia at the 57th Venice Biennale.

About the work

The work has been intended as an illustration for an integral and important part of life ‒ worries and anxieties. Modern times are known for ever-present full-scale lies, spiritual inertia, the moral bankruptcy of religious institutions, uncertainty about the past and future, and, of course, the fear of death and inability to confront objective reality, which increasingly and loudly differs from the imitations popularised in the information space and demands ever more intensive excitements. The factors mentioned above give rise to the necessity to abort them from consciousness and require a considerable amount of creative energy to maintain the illusion about the existence of the simplified materialistic universe, which, in turn, sort of guarantees a comfort zone for its users.
No doubt, attention must be drawn to the side effects caused by the subdued anxiety; however, in this project the subject is tackled from a wider historical perspective both through the prism of conspiracy theories correlating scenes in the near future and revising the ancient past. Also, an insight into the realities of parallel dimensions and the dynamics of the inter-galactic relationships of cosmic civilisations is offered.
Works are implemented in the traditional technique of the Age of the Cosmic Dawn ‒ mass-produced souvenirs of the 1960s ‒ a simple drawing carved on a black, smoothly polished wooden board.

Paul Philipp Heinze, J&K, Linards Kulless, Christoph Mühlau, Melissa Steckbauer, Magda Tothova, Suse Wächter (DE/DK/LV/USA/SK) #

Mending and Bending, To Rīga with Love, 2016, Performance
pph.pm
jk-world.net
kulless.info
newhive.com/keysession/profile/feed
melissasteckbauer.weebly.com
magdatothova.com

Paul Philipp Heinze (1981) is a Berlin-based artist working across many disciplines including installation, sculpture, painting, performance, video, sound and software. His work explores topics such as “identity construction”, “post-humanism” and “cognitive capital”.
The artist duo J&K (Janne Schäfer and Kristine Agergaard) have been working in collaboration since 1999 and are based in Berlin and Copenhagen. J&K are members of the feminist artist network ƒƒ.
Linards Kulless (1978) is a visual artist working in different media such as video, photo and installation. His art projects contain ethnographic influences, esoteric knowledge and a search for identity.
Christoph Mühlau is a Berlin-based artist working in music and performance art.
Melissa Steckbauer (1980) is an American artist based in Berlin. She is the founding director of the experimental project space The Wand in Berlin and a freelance writer.
Magda Tothova (1979) is a visual artist based in Vienna and Berlin. Her work revolves around modern utopias, constructed norms, social models and their failures, how to address personal and social issues in the private and the political field.
Suse Wächter is a Berlin-based artist working in the Puppet Theatre and performing arts.

About the work

eight interstellar travellers /
follow us / back and through /
first day one, then day two /
stones of power / shrines of love /
step out of doubt / breathe in, breath out /
triturations & elixirs / ease, erase /
dine with us / leaving time and space /
maybe no, maybe so / cast a spell / come together /
we, the fabric / open a vortex / we the waves, are transformed /
and maybe again / undo the knots / relieve the tightness we discovered long ago /
thanks to the keen hospitality / of the spirits of the space /
we forgot our qualms / discover our grace /
here we are / smiling beside you

Reinis Virtmanis (LV) #

THE AQUARIUM OF RELICS
“...and I was in Arcadia, too.*”
/Jēkabs Zimmels Ziemelis/
* Arcadia – the place of happiness, joy and carelessness.

2016, Installation, reinisvirtmanis.blogspot.com.ee

Reinis Virtmanis (1976) studied at the Riga School of Design and Art and later at the Department of Painting of the Art Academy of Latvia. He uses a poetic and symbolic language in order to create laconic, monochrome and illustrative works. The mystified images that Virtmanis uses in his finely drawn illustrations are constructed like literary and surreal characters. Virtmanis finds inspiration in 19th-century European – especially Russian and English – literature and art. He has illustrated books and published poetry.
Virtmanis has been participating in exhibitions since 2002. He has had several solo shows such as Francis. Table. Cube (2002) at Galerija Centrs and Imprecise Story About Nine Palms or Treasure Seekers (2008) and Dis-sleeping (2014) at the Alma Gallery. He has also participated in various important group exhibitions such as Candy Bomber (2007) and Pie Dzintara jūras (2011) at the Arsenāls exhibition hall in Riga, The Playful Eight (2011) at Gallery Onetwentyeight in New York and the Nordic Art Station – Word, Art, Sound contemporary art triennial (2013) at the Eskilstuna Art Museum in Sweden. Virtmanis’ works can be found in the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art as well as in private collections in Latvia and abroad.

About the work

I became curious about a mystic named Jēkabs Zimmels Ziemelis, who had lived in Riga and, apart from his office job as a constructor and many other hobbies, was very much interested in alchemy, medieval and modern mystics and various spiritual practices.
On the night of September 23-24, 1954, between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m., Zimmels Ziemelis, according to his own account, experienced a mystical revelation from above. Having come round after this experience, he immediately wrote down his thoughts on a piece of parchment, which was sown in the lining of a piece of clothing. This significant event was a turning point in his life as a mystic. Zimmels Ziemelis did not part from this relic till the end of his life. After his death, this piece of writing was found in his older sister’s house among his other personal belongings.
Despite his seclusion, the mystic had some associates and followers. After his “departure in the northern direction”, as Zimmels Ziemelis used to joke about his oncoming death, his associates and followers found a variety of his belongings and objects, which are exhibited in the framework of this exhibition. Thanks to the efforts of his followers, some objects are currently defined as relics, whereas others have changed their original shape in the course of “dechemicalisation” and have acquired a different meaning, turning into some kind of artefacts.

Shana Moulton (USA) #

Restless Leg Saga2012, Still from the HD video

Courtesy the artist, Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich and Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris, shanamoulton.info

Shana Moulton (1976, California) is a video and performance artist based in Oakhurst, California who explores contemporary anxieties through her filmic alter ego, Cynthia. She creates unexpected relationships between commercial and spiritual worlds in her colourful, surreal videos. Combining an unsettling, wry humour with a low-tech, Pop sensibility, she plays a character whose interactions with the everyday world are both mundane and surreal. As her protagonist navigates the enigmatic and possibly magical properties of her home decor, Moulton initiates relationships with objects and consumer products that are at once banal and uncanny. Moulton studied art and anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley; Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where she received her MFA; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan; and De Ateliers in Amsterdam.

About the work

In the video work by Shana Moulton artist’s fictive character Cynthia suffers from Restless Leg Syndrome, and seeks relief in pharmaceutical ads on TV and in health magazines. In a domestic world enlivened with animated dance and mystic poetry (written and read by poet John Coletti), Cynthia finds relief in the healing mineral AION A, discovered by Swiss artist Emma Kunz. The Swiss Healing Rock Powder cures restless legs by multiplying them and making them dance. Although humorous and whimsical, this video questions the effect of social and cultural beliefs that opens door to the “wellness” industry, with its many products and strategies.

Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson (IS) #

WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?, 2016, Performance, 25 min, styrmir.eu

Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson (1984) is an Icelander living in Warsaw. He is a storyteller, a performer, a singer, an object maker and an illustrator. He has a love for the absurd, by which is meant less an obsessive passion for the ridiculous, nonsensical or the odd, than a tender and caring attitude – he takes care of the absurd, he helps it to develop, and he gives it a place alongside everything else, where it can be your most disturbing neighbour and your best friend. Guðmundsson studied art in Amsterdam at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and Sandberg Institute. He has brought his objects and performances to places such as the Contemporary Art Centre of Vilnius, The Living Art Museum in Reykjavik, Casa del Lago in Mexico City, Cricoteka in Krakow and the Cypriot/Lithuanian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale.

About the work

If they catch you jumping over
And if they reach you crawling under
They’re gonna kick you and send you
Back to where you came from
And you’ll have to start all over.
Is there a doctor in the house?

With crowd interaction and group exorcism through the power of MC-ing as a mad hip hop doctor, Guðmundsson will confuse the theories and practice of Western medicine with Eastern traditions. With the key ingredients of result and reason, he will cook up a mixture, a harmonious remedy for the mental storm forecasted today, tonight, tomorrow. “But I am merely a human, a confused one. My mixture is a prototype, it must be tested. Let’s expose ourselves naked by breaking our icy selves into a million jolly pieces. Let’s thaw each other from the thick block of ice that encapsulates us!” In his rap, Guðmundsson will prepare guests for the works of the festival and poke them with vulnerability, happiness and love.

Do you believe in a life after this one?
Don’t you believe in the lives of other ones?
Then I’m afraid that one day
You’ll fade away
And the best you'll become is an animal.

Valentina Desideri, Myriam Lefkowitz, Géraldine Longueville (IT/NL/FR/USA) #

La Piscine, 2016, Performance, Photo: Laëtitia Striffling, The drawing is part of the archives from the city of Pantin

faketherapy.wordpress.com
blackgarlicstudio.com

Valentina Desideri (1982) is a performance artist based in Amsterdam. She trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre in London (2003–2006) and later on did her MA in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (2011–2013). She makes Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, co-organises the Performing Arts Forum in France, speculates in writing with Prof. Stefano Harney and engages in Poethical Readings with Prof. Denise Ferreira da Silva.

Géraldine Longueville (1981) curates art projects that explore formats of exhibition. She escorts the artists’ inventiveness by creating flexible and multiple modes of showing their work and sharing it with the audience taking the shape of a show, a residency, a song, a poem or a dish. From 2005-2009 Longueville ran La Galerie Exterieure, a mobile gallery offering various contexts to make art happenings. Black Garlic, a studio for art and gastronomy, is her most recent project.

Myriam Lefkowitz (1980) is a performance artist based in Paris. Since 2010, her research has focused on questions of attention and perception, through different immersive devices involving one spectator and one performer. Her work has been presented at the Venice Biennale, at Le Nouveau Festival at the Centre Pompidou (Paris), for the Public Art Agency (Sweden), at the Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius) and for the Buenos Aires dance festival (Brazil), among others.

About the work

La Piscine is a collective project that gathers different artistic practices and works addressed to a single spectator/participant. Similarly to an actual swimming pool, which holds the mixing water together, La Piscine holds the space for such practices to mix and transform each other, so that each encounter is a unique experience and a work in itself.
La Piscine treats each work and practice involved as tools to produce experiences able to question our usual regime of attention. Its liquid form makes it possible to include and remix new practices as well as old ones or others that only emerge in the doing. La Piscine happens in functional places that keep being used in their original function during the event (e.g. a pool, a park, a school etc.).
A first edition of La Piscine was set up at the municipal swimming pool of Pantin, Paris, in October 2015 and organised by Les Laboratoires d’Aubervillers in the context of a research residency of Myriam Lefkowitz. There seven artists (Jean Philippe Derail, Valentina Desideri, Ben Evans, Géraldine Longueville Geffriaud, Alkis Hadjiandreou, Julie Laporte, Myriam Lefkowitz) learned each other’s practices and experimented with mixing them. Now the second edition of La Piscine is set up at the Pauls Stradins Museum for History of Medicine, where architecture, exhibitions and visitors will become the containers of the new mixes.

Vivienne Griffin, Kaspars Groševs and Cian McConn (IE/LV) #

Release Your Inner Dolphins, 2016, Performance

Image by Vivienne Griffin

viviennegriffin.com, kasprsg.com

Vivienne Griffin (1975, Dublin, Ireland) was born on a western point of the European continental shelf that was connected to the continent by land during the last glacial period. This remote island has been instrumental in developing themes of existential alienation and absurdity in her work. Through drawing, performance, sculpture and sound Griffin explores collective human experience, aspects of the unsaid and the unknowable. She studied at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Kaspars Groševs (1983, Riga, Latvia) is an artist and curator based in Riga. He draws from a nebula, knows nothing and searches for the ceiling of the sea. Groševs has shown his work in Riga, Paris, New York, Vilnius and Moscow among other places. He infrequently performs with his music and contributes texts to the Latvian cultural press and exhibition catalogues. Groševs is a co-founder and curator of the Four To Seven (427) gallery in Riga.

Cian McConn (1980, Galway, Ireland) completed his MA at the Royal College of Art in London in 2012. He uses performance, video, text and dyeing to engage and collaborate with others. Before moving to London, he lived in New York for three years, working as a production coordinator for PERFORMA 05, 07 and 09. In 2013 McConn collaborated with Vivienne Griffin and Kaspars Groševs for his solo project Open Close Thing at the Tintype Gallery in London, together making the performance Nothing Empty Nothingness.

About the work

LET’S START WITH A SEMICOLON.

SEEK
SEEK
SEEK
SEEKING JOY
SEEKING JOY

IF YOU FEEL SAD INSIDE FOR LONG ENOUGH YOU WILL BEGIN TO LOOK SAD ON THE OUTSIDE. THIS IS DANGEROUS AS PEOPLE WILL KNOW. THOSE AROUND YOU WILL KNOW – HE IS NOT VERY HAPPY LOOKING. HIS FACE EXPRESSES A LONGING, A TIREDNESS, EXHAUSTED BY HOPE, DAYBREAK AND TIME PASSING. - THESE SECRETS WE KEEP INSIDE OURSELVES CAN MANIFEST EXTERNALLY WITHOUT US GIVING THEM PERMISSION. FEELINGS ARE POWERFUL. NATURE IS A FORCE. EXPLANATION IS FUTILE. GIVING IN,
GIVING IN
GIVING IN
GIVING IN

释 放 你 的 内 部 海 豚
(Ssch fonn neeee de nay poo hai twen)
Release your inner dolphins,
Dig a hole in a hole,
Unknow the knowable

SURREND
ER.

Zanis Waldheims (LV/CA) #

Drawing #348 / 12.11.1977

Drawing #441 / 29.10.1980

Drawing #538 / 28.10.1983

Drawing #574 / 22.03.1984

Drawing #562 / 20.04.1984

Drawing #648 / 03.11.1988

Drawing #640 / 03.08.1988

Drawing #641 / 05.08.1988

Bristol paper, colour pencils, National Archives of Latvia 

Zanis Waldheims (1909‒1993) was an artist and philosopher of Latvian origin who fled Latvia as a refugee during World War II. At first, he migrated to Western Europe, but in 1952 he moved to Canada. In order to understand the interaction between the mind, emotions and actions, Waldheims actively studied philosophy, psychology and science. Being a dedicated researcher, he elaborated a special theory and system of geometrisation, which was reflected in his drawings. In 1974 he met Yves Jeanson, and under his initiative Waldheims exhibited for the first time ever. In 1985 Waldheims started studying in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Quebec, and in 1987 he prepared a 50-page paper, in which he sorted out his concepts to generalise them even more and provided an explanation in 23 particular figures of how to understand his geometrical abstraction.

About the works

In the course of his lifetime, Waldheims created more than 600 drawings and 50 small-scale sculptures; he also carried out innumerable studies, which he visualised with geometric system plans. The drawings were made in the style of geometric abstraction and in line with the artist’s theory. Initially, in order to illustrate the ideas of various important authors, Waldheims made maps and drawings. Over time, he added colour and enlarged this oeuvre by creating works of art that resembled complicated systems. When working with crayons, Waldheims masterfully combined tone values in each work, often providing a variety of subtle hues resulting from merely one colour.

Each drawing is based on the system of geometrisation, which, in turn, is grounded in the concept of compromise in human relationships. According to Waldheims’ theory, the human mind can be described with the help of three concepts, which are also revealed in his drawings: the extensive, which in his works corresponds to a square; the intensive, which is illustrated by a dot; and the integral, which is symbolically visualised in the shape of a rhombus or diamond. The intellectual maps made in geometric shapes attest to Waldheims’ attempts to understand the human mind.